Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

June 14, 2019

There has been debate over the years regarding the performance of manual vs. electric toothbrushes.  Of course, brushing, in general, is the bedrock of good oral health and the American Dental Association (ADA) agrees that both are effective at removing plaque that causes decay.  However, either have pros and cons, depending on the individual.

Electric Pros

  • Key results in a review by Cochrane researchers showed a 21% reduction in plaque and an 11% reduction in gingivitis after three months of using a powered toothbrush.
  • People with restricted mobility, arthritis, or carpal tunnel may find that an electric toothbrush aids them by doing more of the work.
  • Built-in timers are favorable when following the recommended 2/2 rule of brushing for 2 minutes, twice per day.
  • Pressure sensors can be helpful to keep you from brushing too hard, damaging tooth enamel and irritating gums.
  • Anyone with braces or other orthodontic appliances can have more difficulty using a manual toothbrush and could improve their oral health using an electric version.

Electric Cons

  • The feeling of a powered toothbrush may not leave you with good vibrations if you have a sensitive mouth.
  • They cost more, and depending on the level of technology, the price can range anywhere from $25 to $250.

Manual Pros

  • Availability is a bonus, especially for those traveling as they can be found in nearly every type of store.
  • There is no need to recharge and can be used anywhere, anytime.
  • They are cost-effective, ranging from $2 to $9

Manual Cons

  • It is possible to brush too hard unknowingly and harm your gums and teeth.
  • Without a timer function, you may not be brushing long enough.  Although using a kitchen or cell phone timer would be a simple fix.

At the end of the day, proper brushing is the most crucial element.  Soft bristle brushes that fit your mouth comfortably and gently clean your tooth surfaces are ideal.  Look for multi-level brushes or bristles that are angled, rather than level, and remember to rinse and store upright to dry, away from the toilet to avoid contamination.  As always, Fenton Family Dentistry is here to answer any questions you have.  Contact us for your next appointment today!